January 23, 2013

A Walk Through Istanbul's Spice Bazaar

It’s true we’re biased toward food markets, but the Grand Bazaar — with its expensive gold jewelry, leather jackets, and endless rows of mass-produced evil-eye tchotchkes — just wasn’t our thing. Much more fun and interactive was the Misir Çarsisi, or Spice Bazaar, aka the Egyptian market, established in Eminönü in 1664 (it once specialized in goods brought from Egypt). It’s the market you walk smack into if you approach the Old City from the Galata Bridge, as we did most days from our home base in Karaköy.

Over the years, the spice market has become plenty tourist-friendly; in fact, some of those same Grand Bazaar tchotchkes have shown up between the nuts, olives, Anatolian honey, and lokum (Turkish delight) here. Someone who knows the market well will warn you that not all vendors are created equal, which surely goes without saying in any popular market. But half the fun is going there and figuring it out for yourself — most of the vendors encourage sampling, so you can taste all the goods before you buy.

We admit we let ourselves go a bit inside the spice market, buying dried fruit and accepting hunks of cheese without recording prices or even paying much heed to vendor names (for shame!). What we do have are some photos of favorite items and the remaining piece of pestil (fruit leather) we "forgot" we had in our luggage.

Read more on The Daily Meal: A Walk Through Istanbul's Spice Bazaar

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